With the news that the two conservative parties in Victoria may, when counted together, have scraped over the line and won a bare majority of seats in the lower house, lefties around the state are abandoning their entire political philosophy in droves.
“I had thought that the provision of decent public services was more important than tax cuts”, said Claudia Rizzo, sipping her latte in a cafe in Brunswick Street. “But the news that up to six percent of Victorians who voted for the ALP four years ago switched to the Coalition has changed my mind. I’m leaving the Greens forever and becoming a Young Liberal.”
Another Greens supporter living in Cranbourne, one of the more than 10% of people throughout the state not living in the inner city who supported the party once again on the weekend, despite the swing to the conservatives, was resolute.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned from elections in Australia, it’s that the side that wins slightly more than half of the vote (or doesn’t, but manages to get slightly more than half of the seats) is entitled to get its way on everything from now on. The side that won’t have a majority of MPs for the next four years is irrelevant and all its voters should now back the winning side.”
“I can’t believe I used to believe in the rule of law!” he added. “Thank God that a Baillieu parliament is going to take over from the courts and shatter the separation of powers.”
James Martin, who supported Labor in 2006 but this time voted for the Liberals because “the Liberals promised to help first homebuyers”, was looking forward to finally being able to afford to buy a house. Like many younger Victorians, he has found it increasingly difficult competing against investors already in the market, who use their equity as existing homeowners to push prices out of reach for those who aren’t. The Liberals’ superficially attractive and extremely expensive promise to cut stamp duty appealed to him: “Vendors are going to pass on the savings to buyers at auction, right?”
Polemicists from media organisations that had spent the last term of government pretending that the state was disintegrating into anarchy humbly thanked the tiny proportion of swinging voters who’d temporarily switched sides, for confirming that they were right about everything.
“This result just goes to prove what I’ve been saying,” said Rupert Smith, Australia’s leading conservative commentator. “It’s a ringing endorsement of all of my personal political opinions, which a few thousand swinging voters have clearly now adopted on behalf of every citizen of the state. Read my Wednesday column where I’ll tell you what you’re going to do next.”
The Liberal spokesperson was jubilant. “In a time when voters were already sick of an eleven year government, and we’d warned them that fifteen years was pretty much unprecedented in modern Victoria, we were able to marginally increase our vote to about half! Well, when you include the National Party as well! Frankly, the almost half of the state that still disagrees with us must be ashamed of themselves.”
Similarly, the spokesperson for the National Party was elated. “We got almost half the Greens’ vote, but we get ten seats and they get none! Isn’t our electoral system wonderful! Now they can shut up and stop trying to protect the land on which our constituents depend while we help big corporations ravage it.”
The mood at ALP headquarters seemed to be one of utter embarrassment. As one former frontbencher said: “If only we’d known that the right-wing view of the world was correct, we could have saved ourselves so much time and money! And the state! We really hope the Liberals can forgive us for denying them the power that is rightfully theirs for so long.”
Last, and certainly least, the Greens, who had initially been telling reporters that a rise in their vote since the last state election was actually something they were pretty happy with, eventually came clean and admitted that “more than a tenth of Victorian voters is practically nothing when you contrast it with the most optimistic projections our opponents used to try to scare people” and promised to go away forever.
“Kevin Andrews is right,” said their spokesperson. “Lefties don’t deserve to exist, let alone be represented in Parliament in accordance with our numbers.”
“We’ve learned our lesson now. Please accept our apologies.”